5 Reasons to Do Business In Kenya

Nairobi

5 Reasons to Do Business In Kenya

We’re heading to Kenya soon, so if you’re  like us, and you’re passionate about world travel and doing business that matters, here are 5 reasons to do business in Kenya, and why you should join us on some crazy entrepreneurial adventures. Check out the projects and student programs  at kenyasocialventures.com.

1. It’s A Huge Market Opportunity

“Africa has an abundance of natural resources, a rising middle class, a deep penetration of mobile phones and, in another 20 years, it will have the largest concentration of young people on Earth. This continent is about to explode economically.” – Uyi Stewart, IBM

Africa is HUGE. It’s the fastest growing  economy in the world. It has 52 cities with a population of a million or more, the same  as western Europe. More people live in cities than in India, and it has a larger middle class, half of which will have discretionary income to spend by 2020.

africa market opportunity ltl

Johnathan Berman

“Africa needs everything – infrastructure, education, health care, consumer goods, and retail – and can pay for it.” – Johnathan Berman

Because of political instability in the past,  intra-continental trade was the lowest in the world, at 11%,  but things have opened up in a major way. African companies are now capitalizing on the massive opportunity as more stable governments promote free trade across the board.

“We all speak the same language now, and the views of business are welcome at the table without fear or favor.” – Vimal Shah, CEO, Bidco (Kenya)

2. The Rising Billion Smartphone Users

Jon Evans

Around 3 billion people can go online today. That leaves 4 billion people out of the global conversation.  In the next decade, that’s going to change,  immensely. A big portion will come from the biggest continent, Africa, population 1.1 billion.

“Strategically, Kenya is definitely the most important mobile destination in sub-Saharan Africa.” – Michael Dawes, CEO, All Amber

Peter Diamandis, author of Abundance, coined The Rising Billion as the world’s poorest people coming online. In fact, he sited The Rising Billion, along with Exponential Technologies, the DIY Innovator, and the Technophilanthropist, as the four most powerful emerging forces that will solve our biggest problems.

kenya social ventures internship summer 2014

Smartphone use is only around 10% right now, and soon to Double. That changes the game. Access to Google search is perhaps the greatest tool an individual could have. Think about it, a whole new generation of creative smartphone users is about to come online – instagrammers, digital musicians, vloggers, documentarians, pranksters, redditers! The smartphone is an incredibly empowering piece of technology, and before we know it, a billion more hands will be soaking in a universe of information and possibility.

“If you know the African psyche, once you show them it is possible you cannot stop that train.”- Uyi Stewart, IBM

3. Explore Another Way of Life & Culture

Doing business abroad is just simply more interesting! Instead of focusing on the biggest financial gains, the New Rich focus on acquiring amazing and diverse experiences. Experience another way of life and culture.

Travel to a developing country in general. It’s the best education you can get. Gain a new perspective. If you have , you’ve probably witnessed another, simpler, way of life. Yet the people seem to smile more and look happier than people in America! It’s really an eye opener, and makes you re-think what’s important. Planning your next excursion abroad? Why not Kenya!?

kibera slums kenya

“Five days in Nairobi slums will change you.” – Jacqueline Novogratz

The Kibera slums outside Nairobi are the second largest in the world, and the largest in Africa. Walk through it and come out thinking differently forever.

4. The Young Continent

Africa ‘s average age is 18! In other major countries, it’s more like 35-40 . Sure, you can make connections  with young people wherever you go, but if you want to invest time in the largest demographic of future thinkers in the world, it’s in Africa. Go there while you’re young,  meet friends, and make lifelong connections, from school kids first learning computers, to Ivy League educated techies.

workforce africa young ltl

“Africans are in Ivy League schools and returning by the numbers. It’s part of a much larger story of Africans setting larger ambitions because there are proof points of whats possible.” – James I Mwangi, GMP, Dalberg (Kenya)

It’s the continent of growth. Africa isn’t going anywhere, and it’s poised to make noise in the global economy very soon. A whole generation of creative young people is coming online in the next few years. What will they create and share with the world?

africa education livin that life

With African governments spending more on education than America and Europe, and with smartphones and computers soon to be powering the wave in the hands of the masses, there’s no telling what creative  genius content and innovation will soon be  pouring out of the rising continent. What’s even crazier, is secondary school enrollment is still very low, at 35%, so there’s still tons of room to grow.

4. Nairobi – Africa’s ‘Digital Savana’

Nairobi, Kenya

This is Nairobi, where we will be doing business. “Nairobi is exploding with world-calibre techies, and companies such as Google, Cisco, Nokia Seimens, and Airtel, have all built their African headquarters there,” says Eric Hersman, founder of the iHub, a fast-growing incubator space for Kenyan startups, investors and technologists.

The iHub.

Every mobile phone in Kenya can transfer money instantly for free via text message, thanks to the revolutionary mobile payment system M-Pesa. This is the catalyst that will continue to allow Kenyans to do business more seamlessly than ever.

“I see the effect every day on my driver. To bring money home to his family, he used to spend a fortune and three or four days not working. Today, he does it with one text message.”- Vimal Shah, Bidco

It’s a growing global entrepreneurial community, and  tech companies in Kenya are coming on fast.  With so much innovative spirit bubbling in this city, the opportunities are endless. If you haven’t realized it yet, the biggest opportunities are in mobile. As a smartphone aka portal to the universe user for a solid 5 years now, I’m hoping I can bring a thing or two to the table.

Watch this TED talk. It says it all.  They are saying that in 30 years time, Africa will look like today’s Asia. If you’re young and into international business, that’s something you might want to be a part of.

Some articles I read:

Vision Statement: Seven Reasons Why Africa’s Time Is Now – HBR

The world’s fastest-growing continent : Aspiring Africa – The Economist

In 3.5 Years, Most Africans Will Have Smartphones – TechCrunch

Africa is Now the Fastest Growing Continent in the World – African Development Bank Group

Google’s Boss Eric Schmidt Projects Kenya As Africa’s Tech Leader – Ventures Africa

Don’t Call Africa’s Tech Hub ‘Silicon Savannah’ – Mashable

Why Nairobi is exploding as the tech hub of East Africa [Interview with Erik Hersman] – The Next Web

Check out our projects and student programs  at http://www.kenyasocialventures.com/

~Here’s to abundance, freedom, and FUN

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